addis nola

My son is, like me, a big fan of Addis Nola, the Ethiopian restaurant currently located on Broad street near the Criminal Courthouse. I say “currently,” because they are planning a move in the fall to 2514 Bayou Rd., near Esplanade. My father hosted us for lunch there on Sunday, and it was as good as ever.

I will admit to a little trepidation about bringing my father to Addis, because he is more of a meat and potatoes guy, but it was obviously more important to him that we go somewhere my son enjoys and as it turns out he liked it.

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I do not think I’ll ever eat at Addis Nola without ordering the vegetable plate. It changes from time to time, but it generally consists of yellow split peas, green lentils, beets, cabbage and carrots and greens. Sometimes there’s a homemade cheese, in place of one of those items. The thing is that everything is good, and for two or three people it’s the perfect amount of food alongside one or two of the other entrees. It’s also vegan, if that matters to you.

I feel like I also need to order lamb wot, because I don’t get to eat lamb very often and I certainly don’t get to eat it so beautifully prepared. It’s a thick stew that’s based on long-cooked onions and lots of spices, including some heat from chiles. The sauce is thick enough to pick up with pieces of injera, the spongy, fermented crepe-like bread that is one of the hallmarks of Ethiopian/Eritrean food.

My father is also a fan of steak tartare, the French dish of seasoned, chopped raw beef, and so we ordered the kitfo, a dish that also features raw, chopped beef. I have probably eaten more steak tartare and other raw beef dishes than the average person, and I can tell you the most important thing about it aside from the freshness of the meat is that the cook must remove any sinew or tendon from the meat before it’s chopped. If that’s not done, you’ll end up picking it out of your teeth as you eat it and nobody wants that. This was the second time I’d had the kitfo at Addis and it was perfect.

This was the first time that I had a chance to sample the Tej that they make in-house. Tej is a honey wine/mead, and by “in-house” I mean the honey comes from a hive kept by Prince Lobo, one of the owners of the restaurant and also the person who makes the wine. It is clearly a labor of love and it’s not cheap – $20 for a glass – but man was it good. It has a sweet and slightly citrus flavor with accents that I can’t exactly place but from research may be gesho leaf.

I like Addis, as you can probably tell, and I’m excited to see their new location.